posted on Sep, 10 2004 @ 11:49 PM
Many in this thread have taken what I feel is an excessively simplistic view of the way Catholics vote. Some Catholics honestly believe and will
gladly tell you that if you don't vote for Bush and other right-wing candidates, you are opposing God and supporting Satan. Unfortunately, they are
usually the ones who get heard. On the other hand, there are other Catholics (like myself) who don't agree with that thinking and vote for other
candidates in good conscience. There have been some official statements by the U.S. bishops that seem to strongly suggest that Catholics cannot in
good conscience vote for certain candidates who support abortion and whatnot. However, they do not exactly tell anybody who to vote for per se.
Also, if I'm not mistaken, I believe somebody higher up in Rome (Cardinal Ratzinger, maybe... can't remember off the top of my head) actually made a
statement to the effect that voting is a very personal choice and that individual Catholics must very carefully weigh all the major issues and decide
for themselves which candidate to vote for, in other words under no circumstances should Catholics see any statement as a demand that they vote for
any particular candidate. Yes, if you are a Catholic and you vote for a pro-abortion candidate because you support abortion, then the Church is going
to say that that is a sin. That's a no-brainer. You can't just expect the Catholic Church, or anybody else for that matter to just say that
anything goes when it comes to politics. I mean, everybody votes and most think others should vote a certain way based on their personal beliefs
about what is good and what is not. If the Catholic Church tells people they ought to consider what is right and wrong on certain issues when they
vote, what is wrong with that? If the ACLU or the NRA tells people to vote for specific candidates, nobody is going to accuse them of trying to
meddle in the government or control the way people vote. When some of these fundamentalist evangelical pastors tell their congregations straight up,
"If you don't vote for Bush this November, you're not a Christian," or some such nonsense, the person who started this thread doesn't mention
that in his/her post. But when the Catholic Church tells people, "The Catholic Church believes that abortion is seriously wrong. Catholics should
take this into serious consideration when voting," he/she starts a thread about how the Catholics Church is always trying to manipulate governments.
Please, in the United States and other countries with representative governments every interest group, etc. tries to exert some force on the
government. I don't see the need to single out just the Catholic Church here. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state to a
significant extent, and I support that. That is the reason for laws saying that if religious groups endorse specific candidates or parties, they lose
their tax exempt status. However, there are no laws saying that religious leaders can't teach on morality and tell people that they should vote
based on their conscience. At the end of the day, we all vote based on conscience, anyway.
Personally, I think it would do this whole country a lot of good for us to all step out of this rigid two-party system in which every four years we
are given what a lot of us see as two lousy choices and have to choose the lesser of two evils. I am not voting for Kerry or Bush, because I disagree
with both of them on a lot of issues. I am voting for an independent candidate instead. If Catholics don't want to vote for Bush, the Church isn't
telling them they have to. If Catholics don't want to vote for Kerry, the Church isn't telling them to. If Catholics don't want to vote for
either one, the Church isn't telling them they have to. There are plenty of candidates out there, and the Church isn't telling anybody to vote for
any of them. It is simply telling them to vote for candidates who support what it feels are good, sound moral principles. Again, people do that all
the time. There is nothing wrong with it. I don't understand why this is such a big deal. The First Amendment guarantees that the people will not
have any religion forced upon them by the government. It does not guarantee that people will not vote with their consciences or that people will not
try to get others to agree with their moral beliefs.